Monday, 19 February 2007

Time to scrutinize, not expand, death penalty

Time to scrutinize, not expand, death penalty
February 19, 2007

States considering expanded use of the death penalty would be wise to
consider why this counters a national trend ("Wider death penalty sought,"
News, Feb. 7).

Following the botched execution of Angel Diaz in Florida this past
December, 4 states Florida, Maryland, North Carolina and Tennessee have
suspended executions out of concern for the pain and cruelty involved in
lethal injection.

In addition, the exoneration of 123 death row inmates has rightfully
stoked fears of wrongful executions.

Meanwhile, studies and crime statistics have made the myth of deterrence
harder to maintain, rendering it difficult for lawmakers to argue that
expanding the death penalty would advance public safety.

The death penalty is now on hold in 13 states and has been declared
unconstitutional in New York.

Add to this the 13 states with no death penalty and it becomes clear that
many Americans are uncomfortable with, if not outright opposed to, the
system as it stands.

(source: Sue Gunawardena-Vaughn, director, Program to Abolish the Death
Penalty, Amnesty International USA - Washington; USA Today)

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